Laci Jankowski of the St. Mary’s Good Samaritan Center for Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery discusses various heart conditions and procedures Thursday at the Rolland Lewis Building at Veterans Park in Mt. Vernon. Jankowski spoke as part of the monthly St. Mary’s Good Samaritan Connections Educational Series.
(Mt. Vernon, Illinois) Laci Jankowski, APN, provided vital information on cardiac health and care Thursday during the monthly St. Mary’s Good Samaritan Connections Educational Series at the Rolland Lewis Building at Veterans Park in Mt. Vernon.
“Seniors on the Go,” was the theme of discussion by Jankowski, who works with the St. Mary’s Good Samaritan Center for Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery. She discussed with nearly 100 attendees common heart conditions, procedures used to treat them and steps to avoid them as one ages.
“Coronary artery bypass grafting, or CABG, is the most commonly performed ‘open heart’ operation in the United States,” said Jankowski. “Coronary arteries are the blood vessels that supply the heart with oxygen and nutrients. Ischemic heart disease refers to this condition, when the heart does not get these fuels the heart is sufficiently ischemic. When the shortage of fuel is critical enough, the muscle begins to die. This is a ‘heart attack’ or myocardial infarction.”
Jankowski added that an individual may or may not notice chest pain when suffering a severe heart condition and that he or she should always have chest pain examined by a medical professional. “In some cases,” she stated, “particularly in individuals with diabetes, chest pain may be absent or infarctions silent. A heart attack may be the first sign of coronary artery disease in many patients and an electrocardiogram (EKG) may be normal, even in the presence of coronary artery disease if you have not yet had a heart attack.”
Risk factors for heart conditions listed by Jankowski include a strong family history, improper levels of both LDL (good) and HDL (bad) cholesterol and smoking. In addition, it was noted that those with diabetes are four times more likely to suffer heart disease or stroke.
Jankowski went on to describe various procedures for a variety of conditions, including coronary artery bypass grafting, coronary stenting and mitral valve surgery. She told of how surgeons in the 1970s and ‘80s discovered an artery from the inside of the chest wall – the internal mammary artery – could be used along with a saphenous vein to perform a bypass procedure.
Hypertension also was discussed in detail by Jankowski. “You can take steps to prevent high blood pressure by adopting a healthy lifestyle,” she said. “These steps include maintaining a healthy weight; being physically active; following a healthy eating plan that emphasizes fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy foods; choosing and preparing foods with less salt and sodium; and, if one drinks alcoholic beverages, to consume them in moderation.”
Jankowski then answered several questions from those in attendance, discussing in further detail heart procedures, risks and methods of preventing heart conditions.
The St. Mary’s Good Samaritan monthly Connections Educational Series is held every month in either Mt. Vernon or Centralia. For more information on the classes or the St. Mary’s Good Samaritan Center for Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery call (888) 257-6098.
The St. Mary’s Good Samaritan Center for Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery is located at 1501 McPherson in Mt. Vernon. Dr. Anthony Nunez, M.D., works out of the center and specializes in cardiothoracic surgery while also capable of performing many other procedures. Casey Gustavision, APN, also works at the center along with Nunez and Jankowski.